In the spirit of the Irish, we’re all about luck this month. Not gold-behind-the-rainbow luck but rather making your own luck. To start the upcoming spring strong, we have a few tips to put yourself in the driver’s seat of your money goals.
Whether it’s a down payment for a new ride or hitting the fitness list, we have a few ways for you to get “lucky” or, as we like to say, own it.
- Go direct. To your savings. Setting up direct deposit to your savings account(s) is a huge money win that many people overlook. The best part? It’s easy and helps you build a cash reserve without being tempted to spend the money! (outta sight, outta mind). Start with five percent (10 percent if you can do it) of each check, with an initial goal of having three months’ worth of income set aside. If you get in a jam this year, how nice to know you’ve been setting a little something aside to bail yourself out? We’re directly motivated by that alone.
- Auto-pilot pay mode. Auto-pay. It’s a beautiful thing. Tired of forgetting to set a reminder for your car payment or cable bill, and the late fees that result? If only there was a way to automatically deduct dollars from your account, so you wouldn’t have to worry about making payments on time! Oh, wait. Not only is setting up auto-pay simple, nowadays most entities encourage it. Plus, it’s always a win going paperless.
- Pro tip: Have your bills deducted within the first week of each month, so you know where you stand financially. By the time retail sales catch your eye, bills are already checked off your financial to-do list. *High-five.
- Your (down) payment plan. So, what’s 2017’s big buy? New wheels? All-inclusive vacation to the Caribbean (yes, please)? Whatever it is, there’s no doubt you’ll be better off with extra change in your pocket. Aim for saving 10 percent of any listed pricing. Summit Financial Advisors are always here to help. Oh! Did we mention our new Money Minder program? The financial management tool lets you create budgets, monitor expenses and set goals—all in one place.
- Think long-term. Now our favorite part: spending! It’s inevitable. And fun. But there are some things worth keeping top of mind to avoid overspending your hard-earned cash. What’s that, you ask? Long-term use. Shopping for new threads? Take the multi-purpose approach: shop for clothes that can be worn at work and on vacation. New boots? Bonus points if they can truck you through the winter snow, too, amiright? Now we’re cruising. By keeping long-term use in mind, you’ll start accruing items that provide for you down the road, making your investment much more worth it.
- Old stuff = new cash. March brings spring cleaning. First up: those clothes that you don’t wear anymore. Try donating them to your nearest thrift store. Not only are you helping others, but there are things called tax write-offs that come into play if you’re willing to go the extra mile. Not one in your area? Do a quick Google search on consignment stores. Any amount of cash you can get for clothes beats them sitting in the closet all summer. This strategy applies to things other than old clothes, too. How about old books, cookware or even furniture?
- Extra points: set up a yard sale. The spring might just be the perfect time as people are anxious to get (back) outdoors. Worried about not selling everything? That’s cool. You can head to that thrift store knowing you did your due diligence. Yep—we just pulled the “at-least-you-did-your-best” card.
There you go, savvy savers! Try those tips and make your own financial luck this month! Keep coming back to Money Smarts for financial resources and fun tips.